International outdoor apparel and footwear firm, Columbia Sportswear Co, on Thursday posted a 79 per cent increase in fourth-quarter net income thanks to soaring sales of outerwear and cold weather footwear.

The Oregon-based company said net earnings totalled $24.2 million, or 61 cents per share, compared with $13.5m, or 34 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Fourth quarter sales jumped 32 per cent to $214.3m, boosted by increases of 33.5 per cent and 54.2 per cent in the outerwear and cold weather footwear sectors, respectively.

President and chief executive, Tim Boyle, said: "We are gratified by the company's performance during the fourth quarter and full-year 2001 despite the less than optimal weather conditions in North America through the fall retail season."

Mr Boyle added he expects first quarter revenue to be flat and anticipates a 10-30 per cent fall in net income, while for the second quarter, he expects revenue growth of no more than three per cent but a slide in net income of 15-30 per cent.

"It is clear that several extrinsic factors, including persistent unseasonable weather in key markets in the US during the fall and winter retail season and a challenging retail environment generally, will hamper our ability to grow the fall 2002 business at the level we previously anticipated," he concluded.